Book Review: A Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) by Lemony Snicket

Title: A Bad Beginning  (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1)
Author: Lemony Snicket
Published: 1999
Genre: Middle Grade

Synopsis: Dear Reader, I’m sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune. In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast. It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket

My Rating: red-starred-starred-star

Ehh, this was OK. I’ve never read the books as a kid because I was in High School and too interested in dances and boys to even know these existed so I don’t even have the nostalgia to tie me back to it. I think this book and this series in general is aimed at children and specifically at children. All adults in this book are absolutely imbeciles or malevolent devils and the children are the only ones who see the world for what it truly is. The legalities that are glossed over and do not compute to my adult mind and I’m like excuse me why is the welfare of these underage children being brokered by a banker instead of child services? Where was the house inspection of the guardian? Monthly visits? Background check? Probationary period? Court involvement??? See? The silliness that children would enjoy simply irritated me because I’m just too old to enjoy it.

I listened to this on audiobook and all 3 stars go to Tim Curry who is just such a fucking amazing narrator that he really made this a passable reading experience. He handled the narration like the pro that he is and gave it life.

I think I would not recommend this book/series for adults, this is truly a great series for a young reader. I like that it teaches them words as it goes along and that cleverness is always the most important. The hum and gloom of the whole thing was just overkill but that is the purpose of these books but it’s just not for me.


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